Positivism Theory

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Positivism, (also referred to as ‘empiricism’) is often used to indicate that this approach to understanding criminality is scientific. The term 'positivism ' (or in its more sophisticated form "Logical Positivism") is often used to refer to an approach that asserts it utilizes science or the scientific method (their version of science) to understand the causes of criminality and thus the solutions to solving it. Positivism is an epistemological position or a theory of knowledge which assets that science is based upon theories that have been induced from and only from empirical evidence or the evidence of the senses (hence the term ‘empirical’ or that which can be experienced by the senses). Positivists reject any evidence that cannot be objectively experienced or observed such as that derived from tradition, faith, magic, religion, philosophy or any other form of knowledge or belief that does not have an empirical basis. Thus they want to explain criminal behaviour by reference to causes that can be observed or measured. Causes have to be material and observable – biological positivists look at biological observables such as anatomical abnormalities, identifiable genetic or gene patterns, bodily movements etc. Psychological positivists will also look at biological observables but will add behavioural factors, child rearing practices and brain abnormalities that cause identifiable behaviour outcomes. Many modern scientists have virtually discredited positivism in favour of what we call the hypothetico-deductionist approach or a falsficationist approach. This approach begins with theoretical conjectures (or hypotheses) and then seeks to prove or disprove them by means of empirical evidence. However, whatever the differences in method both positivism and hypothetico-deductionism seek empirical evidence for their theoretical positions. Implicit in these approaches is the idea that the scientist is an objective disinterested observer of natural events with no...
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